a failed epic
The heart within him was in two ways parted, in two ways divided;
Either to sheath the thoughts or, gathering what came gathered,
To rush upon the words, scattering them, to reach upon the pen--to burn
The white-cheeked page black with language.
So, his slow heart trembled as the soft time circled.
And while the gray meadow seethed beneath the feet of horses,
Cows, and goats, the wings of the Muse clanged against the air,
Over the needle of a pin, and beat whispering commands
Into the harvest of his ear. After some little time, some small
Portion, to the Muse these words the slow-hearted man spoke:
"O goddess, I have begun what I cannot end, being
Where Dante did not go, a century not alike to
The centuries before. Irresolution, the heart of a deer,
Rushes upon me as the salt sea breaks boulders,
Sucks sand, chokes the thirsty man. I fear the words uttered
By my mouth will reveal themselves as milk and mediocrity."
Not without grieving to him she responded, lifting up her voice:
"Son of the bright-blue world, do not speak any hoary words,
Slipping off the back of a rushing steed, falling at the hoofs.
Instead, find the new day, the starting of your time and age
And merit and soil; aim for the darkest time in the mind,
When thoughts steal upon themselves, and what is seen
Can only be a lie: then, choose the winter as your spring,
The hollowed shell as your shelter hallowed. Cast
Your heart quick upon the steaming fisher’s net--lift it up yourself.
Then, waiting impatient as a young child would, the cup will flow
Over itself, darkening your shoes, and the new day will come."
Dear Homeschooling Friends,
I've been translating the Iliad from Ancient Greek to English, which definitely inspired the style of this, the beginning to an epic I will most likely never finish. The "poem" is also inspired by the fact that I turn 23 tomorrow!